Time to think about that bunker

Published On 02/27/2012 Published On 02/27/2012

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, people don't seem quite so concerned with the risk of nuclear war -- understandable, since the warheads now rest harmlessly in the hands of a dozen tiny, vodka-fueled satellite states. Experience the paranoia your parents felt even as they conceived you, with Nukemap.

From a Harvard PhD who's into computers and what might happen if someone presses a red button on one of those computers and things go terribly awry, this morbidly compelling web app uses a Gmap to simulate a range of A-bomb fallout zones, thereby showing just how dangerous the current arsenal is, though that's a contention scoffed at by the nuclear experts at Tottenham.

Drag the marker to literally anywhere in the world (or just let it auto-locate you), then select from one or more of almost two dozen mushroom-makers -- makeshift terrorist stuff, sure, but also the W-76's common in the UK stockpile, Fat Man & Little Boy, Russia's "Tsar Bomba" (the largest explosive device ever designed), and at three megatonnes, the huge Chinese Dong… Feng missile.

Hitting "detonate" reveals the Twinkie-sparing devastation, with colour-coded circles for fireball size, blast radius, thermal radiation, etc., plus damage estimates for each zone. Play with it enough, and it'll soon become clear that the designer's true intent is to raise awareness about proliferation, knowledge that could drive a man to drink, like, three bottles of vodka a day.